Responding to Neuromancer

While reading Neuromancer, I found myself interested in the direction that Gibson took the concept of “self”. In general, I’ve always thought the idea of a sense of self is what you do with the life that is given to you, and ultimately what you want it to be through one’s own actions. In most novels that I’ve read, the protagonist feels a sense of duty or self-direction to attain a higher goal. Through the concept of self-worth and understanding the self can one truly create something worth creating and becoming a master of their own reality.

However, in the book Neuromancer, the concept of the self in its entirety is treated very differently. For instance, the whole idea of the novel or at least one of its themes is that the lines between man and machine have been blurred. We can see this especially when Case goes into cyberspace, it’s like an entirely different world and the concept of him being himself is thrown out the window because he has almost a second self when he’s in cyberspace. Another interesting thing about the novel Neuromancer in particular is the whole idea and practice of cybernetic enhancements and augmentations are common place in this story. With these cybernetic implants it almost seems as if the characters themselves are cheating the self by making it what they want it to be through means beyond nature. Take Molly’s eye implants for example, they completely shield off her eyes so no one can see them.

This illustrates how the self in this book isn’t something that’s shared and an individual stays as the individual in the real world whereas in cyberspace the individual is shared all across the net and beyond when they’re not physically attached to the self. In Neuromancer the self isn’t really meant to be a physical thing, it’s more of a consciousness thing because of how they spread themselves out in cyberspace to commune with others in a plane that isn’t physical.

This concept of self was the biggest idea that I personally took from the book. Obviously, I only touched on some thoughts I had, but if anyone else has more insight to add that would be great!

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